A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Sowing and Reaping

Posted on: January 9, 2014

On Monday, I still had a Christmas tree in my family room and decorations waiting to go into storage. So you may imagine that, less than two weeks after Christmas, I was surprised to see not only Valentine’s Day greetings and candy in the stores but also Easter treats.

Yep. Marshmallow Peeps and chocolate bunnies. I don’t know if I should chalk it up to a plan to boost spending in January or someone’s wistful thoughts of spring amid all this ice, snow and bitter cold.

I love winter, but as someone who gardens, a corner of my mind is thinking of spring. Especially since I received an e-mail notice that the next Botanus catalogue is online, full of beautiful photos of new plant varieties and old favourites. But even in winter, I can be a gardener, if I take a hint from this quote I read in the January/February issue of Catholic Digest:

A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.

~ St. Basil

Sow courtesy? Like so many who note the decline of good manners, I’m happy to hold open doors, reach items for others in the grocery store (if I can, since I’m not all that tall), or tell a busy and flustered cashier I can wait even though I’m not the most patient person. Although a smile or “thank you” is the most I’d hope to reap.

Plant kindness? That’s something I’d truly like to see more often—and do more often. Those moments when people have been particularly kind to me have stayed with me through the years: the time a school librarian offered to review my poetry and give me advice, students invited the “new kid” to sit with them at lunch, a professor recommended me for a work term, and vet clinic staff sent sympathy cards when my beloved pets passed away, to name just a few examples.

Maybe we could take a moment to sow courtesy and plant kindness among the people we meet in the course of our day—including our family. Thanking a helpful salesperson or pleasant barista, treating a co-worker to coffee on a cold morning, giving a neighbour a ride to the bus station, or dropping off our spouse’s dry cleaning may be small acts of courtesy or kindness, but we can’t know what they may mean to someone else at that moment.

And we may not reap friendship or love, but we’ll surely reap just a bit of joy.

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Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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